Family pleads for clues to finding killer

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

LAWRENCEVILLE -- The family of Timothy Kemp, found shot dead in the grass outside his door last week, gave a tearful plea for information leading to his killer at a Tuesday press conference.

About 20 family members, many of them toddlers and kids who loved Kemp, asked the public for tips in the Aug. 25 slaying at the Harbins Springs Apartments near Norcross. A maintenance worker at the complex discovered the 46-year-old's body early that morning, just feet from his doorstep, and called police. He was shot once.

No suspects have been named.

Dionte Johnson, Kemp's son, described the father-of-three as a devoted family man and dogged worker. Commonly, Kemp would walk from his apartment to the nearest MARTA station in Doraville -- an hour's journey by foot -- to make it to work on time, Johnson said.

"I'm asking anybody with any information to please contact police," Johnson said. "My family, we're all grieving, still to this day. We just want to know what happened.

"He was a good man," Johnson said. "He didn't bother anybody."

Niece Samia Spearing said having someone like Kemp ripped from her life was tragic.

"Justice needs to be served," she said.

Gwinnett police Cpl. Jake Smith said investigators are working several leads in the case. Detectives have no motive that could be discussed, he said.

Kemp had endured some recent legal difficulties.

A month before his body was found, Kemp pleaded guilty in Gwinnett Superior Court to a felony count of theft by taking. He was sentenced as a first offender to 10 years probation.

Kemp admitted to stealing bulk luxury sunglasses from a Lawrenceville business called National Vision, the fourth-largest optical retailer in the United States. Internal investigators recognized Kemp, employed to clean the building through an outside service, and told police he'd jumped a fence and wheeled the loot out the front door in a garbage can. He was arrested in March.

Police estimated the stolen sunglasses, contacted lenses and other materials were worth $73,000.